"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Monday, July 16, 2018

1984 - Facebook, Google suppress free speech

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.”
George Orwell - 1984

WASHINGTON – Does a hyper-progressive, Silicon Valley cartel of social-media dominance threaten the very framework of free speech in America?
That will be the focus of a House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday when Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., takes testimony from representatives of Facebook, You Tube and Twitter – all accused by conservatives, Christians and independent media of employing ideological bias through algorithms and human intervention to suppress free speech, along with Internet search giant Google. In the past, all four companies declined invitations to testify on these issues before the committee.
Those scheduled to testify at 10 a.m. in the live-streamed hearing will include Facebook’s Monika Bickert, head of global policy management, Juniper Downs, YouTube’s global head of public policy and government relations, and Nick Pickles, Twitter senior strategist.
Goodlatte made it clear in an April hearing on the subject, featuring members of Congress and conservative online commentators known as “Diamond and Silk,” that these companies are deliberating suppressing political speech in ways that create a chilling effect on an open-and-free society and America’s constitutional commitment to free expression. 
“Diamond and Silk” are two entertaining sisters, Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, who gained public attention gained for their enthusiastic and spirited support of Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign, and maintain an active following for their videos on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. They insist Facebook deliberately limited their audience reach.
But the issue is much bigger than “Diamond and Silk.”
With the advent of the internet, there emerged a new “independent media” that prospered because a handful of companies offered a different view of the news than did the established entities that operated newspapers, television networks and radio stations. Following the pioneering lead of the Matt Drudge’s DrudgeReport.com, they took advantage of the lower barrier to entry online by establishing news-gathering organizations focused exclusively on digital distribution.
“Today, most of those publishers recognize they face an existential threat because of the power and control exercised by what I call the Silicon Valley Cartel,” said Joseph Farah, the founder of the first of those independent media companies, WorldNetDaily or WND.com. “Our revenues are under attack by the cartel. Our traffic is under attack by the cartel. We are all being strangled by Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Amazon. They set the ground rules now. We are all in their crosshairs, targeted for extinction. Unless there is major pushback against this cartel from the only entity powerful enough to hold them accountable – government – all we have built over the last 20 years will implode. Once that happens, this cartel will effectively decide what is acceptable for the American people to see, hear and read. The American political culture will be as closed as the political culture of the University of Calfornia at Berkeley – which shares those values.”
Farah calls it “nothing short of the beginning of the end of free speech, the free press and freedom of religion in America unless these companies are restrained and reined in or broken up. That’s the choice we face.”
He points to the fact that Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Amazon all share what he calls “an astonishing common denominator.” That is that all five of these companies have chosen to work with the “extremist” Southern Poverty Law Center to help them set content guidelines in one form or another.
“This is a group that admits it is out to destroy conservatives and others who disagree with them,” he says. “And it has been given immense power, influence and credibility by the internet cartel.
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